In April 2017, I embraced NaNoWriMo’s ‘No plot? No problem!’ mindset and decided to write a 15k story in 30 days without planning anything before hand. The only thing I planned before April was the first few lines because I needed to start somewhere.
Going into the challenge, I also wanted to practice one technique: hooks. I’ve read plenty of stories that didn’t have the best writing or storyline, but threw a big hook early on that compelled me to keep reading until the end. I decided to try that out with Camp NaNoWriMo. In every single part/chapter, I made sure I introduced a new question that I hope would make people want to keep on reading to find out more.
Because of that goal, I spent almost the whole of April doing something like this:
When writing the post: Let’s throw a question/new element/twist/hidden secret/cliffhanger at the end so people are compelled to continue reading
After posting: *freaking out* What’s the answer/secret/thing that happens next/history/truth?
For most of the month, I was discovering the story as I wrote. Which was pretty interesting. I didn’t expect all the extra people and family history that turned up in the end.
Another trick I used when I wrote was to start from the character who knew the least information. Most of the time, that was Darius, but throughout the story there’s always someone who knows more than everyone else. That way, I can focus on what’s happening, and in the next chapter, revisit the scene with another viewpoint character, but this time fleshing out the why/who/how and progressing the story. It’s also a great way to add words 😛
The story is still pretty rough, and I’ll need to do a lot of editing, but I wrote a 15k novelette in 30 days! Will I do it again?